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Daphne Kis was the guest star of this month’s Startup Grind (@StartupGrind) in Toronto, Canada moderated by it’s Director, Michael Cayley (@MichaelCayley). No, not Startup Grind Washington, instead, Bear Analytics ventured to our great neighbor to the north. We dig Tim Hortons and taking a broader perspective on startup communities across the globe.

Here’s what we learned:

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The focus of this month’s Startup Grind Toronto was angel investing and women entrepreneurs. The organizers did a good job of attracting the right crowd:

Daphne Kis is a Managing Director at Golden Seeds (@GoldenSeeds) based out of New York City. Golden Seeds is one of the largest and most active angel investing corporations in the U.S., pursuing returns through the empowerment of women and people who invest in them.

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Daphne’s first rule was:

“Self-fund if you can, only seek investors if it’s absolutely necessary.”

Don’t ask for money that is not 100% necessary, because at the end of the day you are going to have to pay those investors back. If you can help it, wouldn’t it be better to just pay back yourself instead of paying someone else the money you earn?

Here are two factors that Daphne looks for in a potential investment:

The opportunity for ROI from the product or idea.

The effectiveness or success of the product or idea.

She prefers to look at the effectiveness or success of a product when investing because not all successful products or ideas have large ROI potential, but that does not mean it is a bad product.

When pitching to an angel investor, sell them on your product as if they are the end user.  Then focus on business plan, financial model, and future strategy. Have a plan with the profits. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in selling because a product is selling, but controlling growth and reinvestment in growth are key.

Regarding gender, Daphne believes that having both men and women in a company means a lot to investors. It is no secret that men and women have different characteristics, strengths, tendencies, and weaknesses.

Diverse companies can lead to ideas being challenged, showcase an openness to diversity and constructive criticism. In the end it will result in better products and higher returns.

Commit to your start-up and make sure you have a game plan for investors. Having diversity in the company would not hurt either. When ideas are challenged, new and better ideas are created.

Bear Analytics has gone international, kind of. We are excited to attend next month’s Startup Grind Toronto.

-Nick

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A good look at OCAD University in downtown Toronto, home to Startup Grind Toronto. #legit